This weekend marks two years since my short paranormal romance ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ was published. The years that have gone by have served as the most important of my writing career and this book represents that and so much more. Prior to the publication of ‘Ghost’ my 5th book, I had nearly walked away from publishing and writing all together, this creative journey can be arduous and many different things took their toll so this book represented a symbol of resilience and eventually the philosophy that I carry today- never giving up. Ever.
2019 was a year I spent repairing myself as a writer. Before then, I had gone hard into writing and publishing. Books One to Four were published in two years – the results by the end of that were minimal, social media is something I hadn’t fully figured out, being an indie author is a constant struggle that I had yet to discover too. I was in my late twenties and the previous decade was coming to fruition – I was also moving into my own place for the first time. Things were busy, stressful and something was going to snap and it did. I took most of my stress out on myself and this author path which was seeing near enough no results.
Good things do take time and I’ve learned that now, I am content with that now, but lessons for me are always learned slowly and the hard way. Expectation always plays a part in this journey and now its more realistic but back then it wasn’t so I suffered in my own mind for it. So how did I find myself? I went back to my writing routes. I went ‘dark’ on social media for a short time, I even put the laptop away and started to write down the ideas I had for a paranormal romance that would tribute to my own thoughts and feelings, an echo of me finding myself, finding resolve and a path forward. The concept of Edward Neville being an introvert by choice struggling to break that mould and wanting to socialize with others was a vessel mirroring my own struggles. There were also so many ‘real’ elements of me that went into the story, the concept of trying to fit in at a work place, the monotony of commuting and of course living alone.
Although I was hurting at the time I started ‘Ghost’ I seemingly produced a story that might be my best attempt at emotional depth and expression. For a 59 page book, you get every essence of my inner emotion through Edward Neville. The words poured onto the page and soon enough by early 2019 I had a fully handwritten draft. Then I put it away and did probably the most important thing I have done on this path. I began reading and reviewing indie books. My return to Twitter sparked it all to life when I put out a Tweet asking for indie books to review – the response was huge and showed me the potential this platform has, so I got to work. (This was late 2018, long before those tweets where people fish for engagement by asking for book recommendations).
While the reviews and social media stuff started building my profile, I was reading because I was trying to find myself and my love for stories. The wonderful thing is, it worked. This was just me by myself reading books but then the reviews started helping others and so it became inadvertently selfless. And by the time September of 2019 rolled around I was ready and then the perfect thing aligned. You see 2019 was the 13th anniversary of my Grandfather’s passing – a man who’s influence is still with me today. He told me a real ghost story back when I was a kid and that story became the inspiration for the ghost in this book and now I had a reason to publish it – to tribute him. 13 years later because we always had a thing for the superstition of Friday the 13th and I knew wherever he was, that would make him laugh.
I got to work transferring a handwritten story onto my laptop and organised the cover art. And this book would carry the weight of all the above; an emotional tribute, finding myself, self-repair and that important 5th book where they say things start to happen. And they did.
‘The Ghost Beside Me’ soon hit the highest number of reviews any of my books got on release – even now it is the quickest of my books to reach 30+ reviews. Sales were the best at the time and I’d made some level of writing redemption. Redemption in many walks of life is rare and so this book represented that. Expectation plays a huge role in authoring, especially at the self publishing level and so with this book my expectation was zero and that where it remains for every release. This journey and its success is governed by the beholder, you.
The truth is, and whilst finding myself I never gave up even though sometimes it can get dark, it can depressing and it is hard, there is always hope where there is life and creativity. Books are a truly wonderful thing and even now with all this modern tech, social media and other stuff, books still have a powerful mystique, their wonder to expand our minds has never changed. Their power to connect us and heal us when we most need it is something I will always cherish
And now, two years after publication, the majority of authors who I have connected with choose ‘Ghost’ because it has become a writers favourite. Something I hold dear to my heart for what it really represents. I guess writers can read between the emotional and symbolic lines, well, they did for this book and that means a lot to me. As a lower profile published author I never get much of a chance to talk about my work in this way and The Ghost Beside Me stands out as an experience like no other. It got me back into to writing, it proves that books can still be successful after publication and it paved the way to elevate me higher than I could ever imagine. My centre pillar of blogging comes from reviewing books, and their power is what put me back together.
There is great power in your stories authors, embrace it!
To those who have read and reviewed and supported this 59 page tribute to many things, thank you and thank you for reading.